The next time you see somebody on "Project Runway" look like they shit a cow after being told to create an outfit in 24 hours, slap them silly for me. I created five tops in 100 hours, and if I were to compute the time spent actually sewing them it would be a mere fraction of that time. Since Rebecca was out on location for the next four days I had unlimited access to the workshop and all the equipment to make the clothes I love to wear, and I did just that. Let's go through each top, one by one:
On Day 1 (Tuesday) I sewed a top made of some stretchy green fabric I bought from the remnant rack at Michael Levine's. It was absolutely hip, exciting and beautiful to work with and look at, but there was only enough to fabricate a shell with. Since there wasn't enough material to make sleeves I had to employ something else so I used some great fishnet material to finish the job. I always like making tops with fishnet sleeves so I can show off my 7-star tat sleeve (go to Purple Panther Tattoo), so I tricked out some fishnet arms and I'm very pleased with the results. How's that for hip, exciting and beautiful?
Day 2 (Wednesday) had me making a purple velvet top. This was a challenge, to be sure, because it wasn't crushed velvet and there almost wasn't enough material to finish the job. In fact, one of the arms had to be cut in two segments in order to complete the top - a sleeve is usually cut in one piece. Ironically, it was the two-piece sleeve that had better ease than the one-piece sleeve! This piece was so tight I'm going to have to cut out pasta and ice cream for the next five years.
On Day 3 (Thursday) I made a tank top of bamboo material. Since I already own several pieces made from bamboo I was excited to work with this material. Bamboo has a texture that feels like cotton but has a coolness to it that feels more like a poly blend. In fact there were times when I felt like I was working with a lycra/polyester combination, so unfibrous was the material.
Making the tank top was a challenge because bamboo is very delicate, sometimes too much so. On three occasions the material got caught in the fangs of the feed dogs of the sewing machine (between the bobbin and the walking foot), the last time being the worst. The fangs took a big bite out of the material and I had to pull the material out leaving a nice rip in the fabric before I could even finish the job. Nuts!
Day 4 (Friday): Equally sensitive was the purple bamboo I purchased on closeout at Mood for only $3.oo (what a find!). This tore quicker than TP and three bad turns with the scissors required some quick repairs. I do not recommend this material for sewers with serious patience issues or quick tempers. God knows I lost mine after the second time I accidentally cut through the fabric. The top turned out okay but more than slightly looks like the walking wounded!
There was supposed to be a fifth top, a black crushed velvet stretchy thing, but I wasted most of the day constructing a muslin that turned out worse than the actual top itself. Although it's procedure to make a muslin practice run I made so many revisions that it took up most of the day. Nuts!
Truth be told, making cool clothes in a limited amount of time felt more like "24 Hour Catwalk", the short-lived show hosted by Alexa Chung and an uber-bizarre group of sewing professionals, all veterans of the fashion industry, especially tough muffin JustRaymona. I wish I had JustRaymona helping me with these delicate fabric nightmares. Time is tight.